Sheepwash bridge upgrades

Bridges over Sheepwash Channel, north of Oxford station, are being replaced for an increase in trains.

This part of the Oxfordshire Connect programme started in March 2024 and will be completed in 2025. 

What work is taking place?

Four railway lines cross Sheepwash channel over a railway bridge at the northern end of platform 4. Next to the railway bridge is another bridge carrying road traffic and pedestrians as part of Roger Dudman Way.  

Our station expansion programme means we need to widen the railway bridge to allow space for an extra railway line over it, servicing a new platform (platform 5).  

To make room for a wider railway bridge we need to also realign the road and pedestrian bridge. 

When is the work taking place?

This complex work is expected to take around a year to complete and is currently scheduled to finish in early 2025. A rough timeline is as follows: 

  • March 2024 – Relocate children’s nursery into temporary building in Becket Street car park 
  • April 2024 – Demolish old nursery building to create work area for bridge work 
  • May 2024 – Installation of temporary service bridge to relocate pipes and cables from road bridge 
  • August 2024 – Remove footbridge 
  • September 2024 – Install temporary road bridge 
  • December 2024 – Remove old road bridge, install new section of rail bridge (to be used temporarily as a road bridge) 
  • January/February 2025 – Install new road bridge and remove temporary road bridge 

How will this work affect me?

With railway, road, towpath and waterway all passing through the area, there will be closures at times for safety reasons.  

  • Railway – Any work that poses a risk to the railway, especially the use of a crane, will be done at night or when the railway is closed and trains aren’t running 
  • Road – When bridges are being installed or removed, Roger Dudman Way will need to be closed overnight for a few hours at a time 
  • Towpath – Oxfordshire County Council has permitted us to close the towpath as required during the work 
  • Sheepwash Channel – The Environment Agency is permitting us to close the channel for short periods so that we can install a pontoon below the bridge 

Dates and times for closures will be communicated in advance. 

Why is the work needed?

Reconfiguring the bridges over Sheepwash Channel is a vital part of the Oxfordshire Connect programme. It is needed to enable the upgrades to Oxford Station and the expansion of the railway infrastructure in the area and without it, the bridges would create a bottleneck, preventing us from realising the full benefits from the wider programme: 

  • A bigger, better station for everyone 
  • More services with East West Rail 
  • Additional rail capacity for the future 
  • An improved and safer road layout 

These upgrades will boost the economy with more rail services to support businesses, residents and visitors to the city. By extending the rail network across Oxford and Oxfordshire, they will also drive sustainability, improving access to fast, sustainable passenger and freight transport. 

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